Clean Marina Program: Helping Preserve Our Coastal Waters

A Win-Win for the Environment and Boaters Alike


High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

With marinas dotting some of the nearly 95,000 miles of ocean and Great Lakes coastline in the United States, pollution from these facilities and other nonpoint sources — such as lawns, roadways, farms, and constructions sites — can have a significant effect on local water quality and marine life.

That’s why NOAA supports the Clean Marina Program (CMP), an initiative that offers states a way to meet many of the marina management requirements of the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program established by Congress in 1990.

The CMP is a voluntary, incentive-based program that encourages marina operators and boaters to practice environmentally sound operating and maintenance procedures, such as:

Marinas and Boaters as Part of Pollution Solution

NOAA recognizes that the CMP can serve a valuable role in protecting coastal waters from nonpoint source pollution; marina managers and boaters have much to gain from working together.

Chesapeake Bay drainage.

High resolution (Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program)

“Clean water benefits not only the recreational boating community but also those who live on or visit our nation’s coasts,” said Dr. Leon Cammen, director for NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program. “The success of the Clean Marina Program stems from the strength of fostered partnerships between marinas and recreational boaters. We are greatly pleased to see this concept being widely adopted.”

 A key feature of the program is specific guidance and education assistance for boaters and marina managers to help them safeguard marine environments and control nonpoint source pollution.

A Cleaner Marina Is a Greener Marina

Indoor marina.

High resolution (Credit: Michigan Sea Grant)

Marinas that have pledged to be “Clean Marinas” also enjoy many benefits, including:

Steps to Becoming a “Clean Marina”


High resolution (Credit: Ohio Sea Grant)

The Clean Marina Program, which varies by state, is a public-private partnership involving several federal agencies, private industry and academia, including NOAA Sea Grant, NOAA’s Coastal Nonpoint Control Program, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other partners. 

Hundreds of marinas have received the “Clean Marina” status so far — and hundreds more have made the pledge.

You can learn more about how to become a “Clean Marina” by visiting NOAA’s Clean Marina Program Web site. NOAA logo.